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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #107709  by gr8fl4295
 Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:54 am
Hello all,
I'm new to the forum. Been scanning conversations and reading a lot of info, maybe too much info.
I'm trying to wrap my head around everything and make sense of it.
I would like to try to build a Garcia Tiger, as close as possible without breaking the bank. I'm still learning how to play guitar, so top of the line parts and accessories don't really matter.
What matters most to me is that it looks and sounds very close to Irwin's creation.
With that being said...has anyone here developed a method/plan/course of action for all the parts/wood/accessories?
For example,
Where to buy the body. Where to buy the neck, etc, etc.
Essentially a shopping list of sorts.
I know nothing about building a musical instrument, so I want it to be as easy as possible.

Thanks for all the info!!

-derek
 #107713  by TI4-1009
 Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:15 am
Derek- Welcome!

Wow! Your request is sort of like "I'm just learing to drive, I've never worked on a car before, but I'd like to build a Ferrari 308GTB- any ideas?"!!! Anything's possible, but some things are more difficult than others. To build a Tiger you would need some basic and some advanced woodworking skills and tools, a good knowledge of musical instrument building- all the little tricks and musical physics stuff, a selection of specialized luthier tools, a knowledge of guitar electronics and soldering, and then the "artwork and craftsmanship" that goes into it. A tall order.

You can learn much of the basics from books and websites, and some of the Tiger-specific stuff here. Obviously the logical way to do it would be to start with something easier and learn the basics- even something like a basic Warmoth body and neck, add the electronics, see what works and what doesn't, then go from there.

From what I understand Cripes jumped in head first when he built Lightning Bolt and Top Hat, but he had a lifetime of woodworking to build on. If you look through the "Show us your Jerry guitars" thread there's a guy from New Orleans who did a great job trying the path you describe- maybe a talk with him would be a good place to start?

http://www.warmoth.com/Guitar/Bodies/WGD.aspx

Best of luck!
Last edited by TI4-1009 on Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 #107715  by vwjodyme
 Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:30 am
Warmoth like above if you are set on making your own, but will be tough with no experience. Or buy one of Post's entry level models and upgrade the electronics as you get more cash<---prob the cheaper way to go and you'll have a great guitar built by a profesional luthier.
 #107717  by jeffm725
 Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:57 am
AS someone who actually spent a lot of time building my own stuff, It will cost you way more money in the end, and you may just end up with an unplayable instrument. Ive been there and done that way too many times. You would need to build no less than 3-4 other guitars before attacking something like Tiger. There are so many disciplines required. Even if you are a good woodworker, setting frets, mounting a neck and all that stuff is an art form to itself. My advice: BUY
 #107721  by redeyedjim
 Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:01 pm
TI4-1009 wrote:Wow! Your request is sort of like "I'm just learing to drive, I've never worked on a car before, but I'd like to build a Ferrari 308GTB- any ideas?"!!! Anything's possible, but some things are more difficult than others. To build a Tiger you would need some basic and some advanced woodworking skills and tools, a good knowledge of musical instrument building- all the little tricks and musical physics stuff, a selection of specialized luthier tools, a knowledge of guitar electronics and soldering, and then the "artwork and craftsmanship" that goes into it. A tall order.

You can learn much of the basics from books and websites, and some of the Tiger-specific stuff here. Obviously the logical way to do it would be to start with something easier and learn the basics- even something like a basic Warmoth body and neck, add the electronics, see what works and what doesn't, then go from there.
I think this pretty much nails it. If you want a guitar that looks like Tiger, and more importantly sounds like Tiger, you need to pay attention to the myriad details that made this particular guitar unique. And there are a lot of details! Basically, every component and construction decision plays a role in the final look and sound of the instrument. For an accessible example, look at something as common as a Stratocaster: cheap Stratocaster knockoffs made in China and Indonesia look about the same as genuine Fender "Made in America" Strats, but they sure don't play or sound the same. The devil is always in the details.

To give you more focused advice I think you need to tell us your actual level of woodworking experience, your budget, and how much you want to do yourself vs. buying someone else's body, neck, or complete guitar. Many of us have taken guitars made by others and modified them to use the same pickups and electronics that Jerry & Co. used in Tiger, with varying degrees of success and faithfulness to the source, so that's a decent option and worth considering. There are also luthiers, on this forum and elsewhere, who are dedicated to making affordable and not-so-affordable Tiger copies, so if you desire something that's as close to a clone of Tiger as possible, that would be the most cost effective way to go about this. Trust me, I spent several months last Fall "Tiger-izing" my guitar, buying parts and doing the work in a friend's woodworking shop, and even with an existing guitar and free labor, it was expensive to do this correctly. It was very rewarding -- I enjoyed the process a lot, and I'm thrilled with how my guitar turned out! -- but it sure didn't save me much money over paying one of the luthiers on this forum to do the work. Something to think about.
 #107753  by gr8fl4295
 Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:59 am
Thanks for the suggestions!
Yes, I think with me having no woodworking skills, no electronic skills, etc. the best way is to have someone do it for me.
But since I am just starting, I don't see myself paying $5,000 for a guitar when I won't be able to use it to it's full potential.
With that being said, suggestions on who could build for me are welcomed.
I'm trying to budget this to $1,000 - $2,000.

Maybe a trade? I have a brand new 15" MacBook Pro (maxed out) for sale.
 #107794  by Jon S.
 Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:10 am
Glad you made it over, the rukind folks will take care of you like nowhere else when it comes to playing the Dead on inspiring gear.
Last edited by Jon S. on Mon Jan 16, 2012 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 #107838  by gr8fl4295
 Fri Jan 13, 2012 3:30 pm
ok. Thanks for all the info and suggestions! You guys are great.
So, if I go with Warmoth WGD body and Warmoth neck, which wood combos do you guys suggest?
Also, what would be on my shopping list for all the other materials/parts/components?
I want to do this, but I need instruction and guidance.
 #107844  by TI4-1009
 Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:19 pm
Well, for the electronics, start by looking at the Tiger wiring diagram on Waldo's site. You could make a list from that.

You can really learn most of what you want to know by poking around this site. You'd be surprised...
 #107953  by gr8fl4295
 Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:33 pm
Hey all,
Here's the details of my WGD. Let me know if it looks ok, or if there's anything I can specify to make it look more "Tigerish".
Next, I'll need to get recommendations on where to buy hardware and electronics.

BODY:
Model: WGD Scale: 25-1/2 in.
Orientation: Right handed
Wood:
Core: Maple
Front Laminate: Indian Rosewood
Front Laminate Unique Choice: LT1025
Control Cavity: Rear Rout
Pickup Rout: Humbucker (Neck) - Humbucker (Middle) - Humbucker (Bridge)
Control Rout:
Volume 1 (LPS) Volume 2 (LPS) Tone 1 (LPS) Tone 2 (LPS) Standard Toggle Hole (LPS)
Bridge Type: Hardtail
Bridge Rout: No Bridge Rout
Jack Rout: 3/4" (19.05mm)
Side Jack Hole Neck Pocket: Strat® Shape
Mounting Holes: Standard 4 Bolt
Battery Box: Single Battery Box
Top Finish: Clear Gloss
Back Finish: Clear Gloss
Nalls Mod: Yes

NECK:
Style: LP Construction: Warmoth Pro Angled Scale: 25-1/2 in.
Neck Wood: Shaft Wood: Maple
Fingerboard Wood: Ebony (Black)
Orientation: Right Handed
Nut Width: 1 11/16"
Back Shape: Standard thin
Radius: 10-16" Compound
# of Frets: 22
Fret Size: 6105
Tuner Ream: Schaller (25/64", 11/32")
Inlays: No Inlay,Side Dots Only
Pre-Cut Installed String Nut: White Corian
Mounting Holes: Standard 4 Bolt
Finish: Clear Gloss
Binding: Pearloid
 #107973  by gr8fl4295
 Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:25 am
I pulled the trigger!
Now time to hunt down all the remaining parts and accessories, and lets not forget electronics!

Thanks to all.